College Lessons and Things

College Lesson #29: Adjusting to Studying

Today while I was at work, I was on Twitter (do I work hard, or hardly work, the world may never know.) and a friend of mine tweeted that she is unsure college is for her. Now, we aren’t especially close or anything, but she got into college and that should say something. My guess was that she was homesick or something and if that was the case, there really isn’t much I could do to help that situation. After a good 10 minutes of mentally wrestling with myself (because I didn’t wanna seem creepy or nosey; we really aren’t close), I messaged her and asked if everything was okay. Poor girl was freaking out about adjusting to the sleep-study schedule (which is a big problem; it’s hard to adjust because it’s the first real freedom a lot of people get and time management skills take time to develop). I asked if I could help at all. She asked if I had any time-management tips (which I do, duh). And then it occurred to me that I haven’t ever done a post explicitly on that. So here it goes.

  1. Get a good planner (or use the one with your school email account). Put your classes on there so you know exactly when each class meets (when you wake up groggy, sometimes it’s hard to know which day it is)
  2. Get a monthly calendar to put on your wall or desk. Put when big things that involve planning are due. And tests. It’ll help you keep the days straight.
  3. Weekly to-do lists are magical. I promise. And if you prioritize properly you won’t have to worry about it later.

I suggested breaks and study groups. I reminded her sleep is important and that needs to be a priority. There’s no sense in being so tired, you can’t take the test properly.

She said of all the people who have tried to give her suggestions, mine were the most helpful. So my last piece of advice is this: ask for help if you need it. Eventually someone will say something that will make a whole lot more sense than anything else thus far.

College Lessons and Things

College Lesson #28: Attention Gives Power

A few weeks ago in chapel the speaker gave us some tips about being happy in life.

The most important thing he said was that attention gives power. He explained that in today’s world we focus on the negative aspects of ourselves and our lives. Because we focus on the negative, we give the things we don’t like about ourselves and our lives power. If a person focuses on their inability to do something, say math, he won’t really be able to see all the things he does well, say english. He told us that we all have something significant to offer to the world but if we focus on the negatives, we won’t be able to share our gifts. In the same way, if we focus on the good things in our lives, what we need to do with our lives will be easy to find.

He then gave us 5 steps to being happy:

  1. Discover yourself His suggestion to discover yourself was to spend some time alone and really get to know who you are. What makes you happy? What do you want from life? What makes you passionate? All those questions that no one else can give answers to.
  2. Find good friends The speaker then explained the importance of good friendships. Friends should be around to help us and pick us up when we need a boost. A good friend has similar values to yours. Good friends are important because they help keep you on track. If people surround themselves with people who have goals similar to their own, they won’t keep you from your goals.
  3. Have a positive attitude He told us that negativity breeds negativity; in a similar way, positivity breeds positivity. Plus, no one wants to spend time with someone who is always upset at everything.
  4. Discover God’s plan for your life He basically told us that once we figure out what our purpose is, everything will fall into place.
  5. Have discipline He discouraged laziness because lazy people won’t get anywhere in life.

Lastly, he explained to us that “everything good doesn’t go together.” He was talking specifically about relationships. He meant that sometimes people just aren’t meant to be together. Not that one is bad for the other or anything. But I think there’s more to it than that. I think he meant that one person can’t do everything. It’s good to want to try everything and all that but not everyone is called to do the same things. People have to be unique or our society would be monotonous and boring.

Have a good rest of the week everyone.

College Lessons and Things

College Lesson #26: If the Teacher Tells You How to do Something, Do it That Way

Procrastination isn’t a good thing. We all know that. Unfortunately for me, I procrastinate anyway.

Lemme tell you from experience: if a teacher says “[blah, blah, blah] is how I would do it” that’s probably the easiest way to do whatever assignment you need to do. Unless you’re a crazy genius. [If that is the case, please share your methods.] Teachers generally put some thought into their assignments so they have figured out some way, maybe not the best way, but someway that will work and get what they want from the assignment. If it seems like whatever your approach to the problem/assignment significantly cuts down the amount of work you need to do or the time it should take, you’re probably not doing something correctly.

If a teacher suggests you do something that is cumulative (homework that covers a few days of class) everyday after class, you should probably do that. Teachers, they have a way of knowing what’s going on.

Also, my dad’s been telling me this for years [yes dad, I hear you and remember the things you tell me. I just don’t always do it.]: If a teacher gives you forever and a day to do something, it will generally take that long; in other words, don’t put off a massive project ’till the night before. You might do okay, but if your teacher gave you three weeks, he or she is probably expecting work that exhibits three weeks of work. Not three hours the night before an assignment is due.

Lastly, if a teacher mentions something he or she expects that you remember it. So. Write it down. Put it in a planner. Or a list. Or if there’s a worksheet/assignment sheet that the teacher gives you, add to it.

So. Pay attention to your teachers. They know what they want. Don’t try reinventing the wheel. Just use theirs.

As I am sure you can all guess, I am currently in Stage 5. My procrastination will continue. I know it. But DON’T LET IT HAPPEN TO YOU!! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

College Lessons and Things

College Lesson #24: Finals Week: Take it on a Wing and a Prayer

Before I start: according to my psych professor, it isn’t uncommon for  a teacher to schedule their last test of the semester to be the week before the final. Just so you’ve been warned. No one told me that. It would have been nice to know. And they do this crazy thing called 24/7 quiet hours on most college campuses, which basically means you need to be quiet whenever you’re in the dorm. It makes for an even harder week. Because you can’t scream. It’s rough. Anyway.

I just finished finals week. Let me tell you, it wasn’t really what I expected. I took finals in high school so I kinda expected the same thing. You go in, you take a test, you be done. Period. I was a little wrong.

First is the issue of studying. You need to find what works for you. That usually means late nights and coffee. Or some form of caffeinated drink. My suggestion is to not do the cramming thing though. If you’re tired, you can’t even try to make things up. Your brain doesn’t work very well if you’re exhausted. Studying in groups can be beneficial as long as you don’t get distracted. Studying with music can be beneficial too. Your brain likes to be able to make connections so music can sometimes help with that. Honestly, if you have to relearn everything, which means you don’t already know it, you probably can’t learn it all in one night. Get some sleep instead.

Second is the issue of sleeping. Sleeping needs to be a priority. Period. Your brain needs sleep to function. Also. If you can’t get up in the morning to take your test, you can’t get any form of credit. So. You need to make sure you’re sleeping enough that you can wake up in the morning. That’s important.

Third is the issue of your general health. You need to eat right. Period. Studying takes a lot out of a person. You need energy. Keep some snack around. Eat meals like usual. Even if you’re nervous. Food is important. Do it. Eat.

Fourth: you’d best relax. You have to make sure you’re taking breaks. Your brain sometimes needs a change. Change your scenery. Change the subject. Change the music. We studied outside. We changed subjects. We took turns quizzing each other so we got breaks. We took turns putting Pandora on. Change helps sometimes. Play a game. Your brain needs a break. Don’t forget.

Lastly, remember, what’s done is done. What happens happens. It isn’t useful for anyone if you can’t study for your upcoming tests if you’re worrying about a previous test that you may or may not have done well on. That’s the worst part. It’s hard. I know it is. But you have to let it go. There’s nothing you can do about it. Absolutely nothing at all. Keep your friends close. Mental breakdowns are common. It’s easy to let the pressure get to you. You’re friends will be there to help. Give you support. Bring you tea when you need it.

College Lessons and Things

College Lesson #22: Keep Your Goal In Mind

In college, people are likely to get distracted with the little things. “This class and that class and this club and that club and these people and this set of notes and this thing,” and before you know it you’re off on some random thing that has nothing to do with your goal. You can probably see this in some of my posts. I get distracted with one aspect of something and by the time I run out of things to say, I haven’t really said what I really meant to talk about.

To help prevent this you need to keep your end goal in mind. If you are writing an essay, you have to keep the point you are trying to make in mind. If you are doing a math problem, you have to keep the solution in mind. If you are working on a project, you have to keep the end product in mind. Knowing where you want to end up will help you figure out where to start. College is the same way. You have to keep the end in mind to know where to start. If you want to graduate at some point, you need to know what classes you need for graduation.

That’s not to say you won’t change your mind. College is all about finding what you want to do with your life and who you want to be. Changing your mind is part of that. But. If you hate English classes, don’t try to be and English Major. We all know you’re just going to hate your life if you do that. College is supposed to be enjoyable. In the same way, don’t take a bunch of elective-type classes. You’ll probably have enough hours to graduate but they won’t be in the right places so you’ll have to take more core classes and it’ll take you longer to graduate. And that’s not fun either.

The same thing goes for other aspects of life. If you want to leave work early, don’t play on Facebook all morning. Get your stuff done and leave. Done. Period.

That being said, you have to reflect sometimes on the place you’ve come from. Sometimes we get caught up in the fact that we have yet to meet our goal and forget how much we’ve accomplished thus far.

See, planning is a little bit important. So. Goals in mind and you won’t get off the path.

Other College Stuff

Happy Birthday to the Ground: Week 1 Results

Happy Birthday to the Ground is the name of our intramural volleyball team name. (It is also a line from a very entertaining SNL skit with Andy Samberg. Look it up. It’s called “I Threw It On The Ground.”) It consists of myself, Roseanna, Ellaina, Spencer, Cole, Kaitlyn, a boy named Jacob and Manuel. For the most part, we’re honors so I’m sure you can just imagine how that goes. It’s a blast though, so it doesn’t matter. And for everyone who knows how much I dislike sports, it must mean a lot that I love my team.

Game 1: We lost. Pretty badly. In all honesty, the majority of our points (which were not very numerous to begin with) were scored because the other team did not expect us to get the ball back over the net. It was very entertaining though. And we had fun. And Roseanna got us consolation cookies afterwards. 🙂

Game 2: We lost much less badly. I was very proud. We had a few good rallies and stuff. They played very well in my opinion. I totally thought we were gonna win one of the rounds. 🙂 They did a good job and I’m proud to be a part of a team with such wonderful players. ❤

Other College Stuff

College Chronicles: October 26, 2012

We went on an adventure!

Friday, as it was the end of the week, I was tired (and the weather was sticky and cold and nasty) and all I wanted to do was take a nap. After attempting to go over some notes (which is a story all on its own) Roseanna and I went to nap before dinner. I had a few phone calls to make and things and when I fell asleep, I crashed and didn’t wake up for dinner. Roseanna and Spencer ended up coming to hang out in my dorm until I was done eating. When I finished my Ramen Noodles (typical college meal, I know), we played Go Fish. (I won, not that it matters much.) Then Spencer mentioned a bonfire or something and the three of us decided we wanted s’mores. But not microwave s’mores, we wanted real s’mores. Even though it was freezing outside. (Okay, not really. It was in the 40’s, I think. But that’s pretty cold. And it was windy, which is just terrible.)

We all went to our respective rooms and got jackets and gloves and blankets and met back up and got in Roseanna’s car and went to walmart. We picked up all the necessary ingredients for s’mores, plus lemonade and matches (Spencer didn’t want a fire-starter thing; he said that he was a boy scout and that felt like cheating).

We then proceeded to drive around for about an hour because we listened to Spencer (which is just something we should not have done in the first place) and managed to get lost. Then we decided to listen to me (which is always a good choice, just so everyone knows). The park I was planning on going to is kinda hidden and we missed one of the turns for it (because it was dark) and we drove around for awhile until we routed it on our phones (we were less than two miles from where we wanted to be at this point.)

We finally got to the park and found a place to light a fire. I was thoroughly impressed with his ability to set the fire. It only took like two matches and it was super warm and fun.

The three of us hung out around the fire and then Colten came and met us.

There were some other cars there and we heard laughing. But the boys were convinced it was some form of animal so Colten started howling. Turns out we knew the other people who were there and they thought we were trying to scare them. Good stuff.

At about 12:30 after a bunch of s’mores (and a few burnt marshmallows that’s how I like them: burnt to a crisp) we decided it was time to clean up and leave.

When we got back on campus, Colten said he was going to call it a night. Spencer and Roseanna and I decided it was not time for the evening to be over so we went to walmart. (Much like at home, there isn’t much to do after about 10 unless you wanna go wander around walmart.)

We spent a good hour and half there. It was us and the stockers (I don’t even think any of the regular registers were open; just the self-checkout). We picked up some canned food for Maggie Lee For Good Day (which is today, don’t forget) and Spencer played on a little girls bike and we looked at all the board games. (They keep remaking the old ones…)

When we got done at Walmart, Roseanna and I decided we wanted food, because who isn’t hungry at almost 3:00 am. We decided on Whataburger because I happen to like the breakfast there.

When we walked in there was some guy (whose name was Nathan, I believe) ordering. And I liked his shirt. I told Spencer and Roseanna as much and when he walked away from the counter and I had decided what I wanted, I ordered. Roseanna came up behind me and I turned around to see where Spencer was and saw him talking to this guy. I turned around to ask Roseanna what he was doing and she told me Spencer said he was gonna go tell this guy I liked his shirt. (He dared himself or some such nonsense.)

I finish ordering and was standing waiting for Roseanna to order (Spencer doesn’t like fast food…riiiiiiiiiiiiight.) and you guessed it. Mr. Blue Shirt Wearing Nathan comes over and starts talking to me.

Him: “Hi, I heard you like my shirt.”

Me: “Uh…uh huh.” (Those are most definately words, just for the record)

Him: “I’m Nathan [or whatever his name was that I do not quite recall].”

Me: “Gabriella…Hi.”

*awkward handshake*

Him: “So, are you from around here?”

Me: “Uh…I go to Mary Hardin-Baylor.”

Roseanna: *let’s increase Gabi’s awkwardness* “No, she just likes their colors so she wears clothes from there.”

Me: *looks down to see I’m wearing a UMHB sweatshirt* “Oh…yeah…”

*awkward laugh*

Him: “So, how old are you?”

Me: “18.”

Him: *deer in the headlights face for about two seconds then he fixed it* “Oh, that’s cool. How old do you think I am?”

Me: “I didn’t think much older than me, but, based on the face you just made, I’m rethinking  that.”

Him: “How old? Like a number?”

Me: “I dunno…20ish?”

Him: “22.”

Me: *awkwardly* “Thats cool…”

Him: “You don’t look 18.”

Me: “Older or younger?”

Him: “Uhm, older, I guess.”

Me:  *don’t know what to do in this situation because I’ve never been in it…* “Uh…wellitwasnicemeetingyoubye.” *walks away*

Roseanna and Spencer: *obnoxious grins on their faces because they watched the whole awkward exchange and found it incredibly amusing*

Apparently I look older than I am. Not sure if that’s a compliment or not. And. Apparently watching me be awkward is fun for Spencer because he was laughing. The entire time.

Anyway. We sat at Whataburger for another hourish and talked and laughed and whatnot.

It was a super good night. Gotta love being a college kid. Making memories.